After refereeing the 2015 final, Nigel Owens will take charge of the opening qualifer for the 2019 World Cup

The Welsh referee is to take charge of Jamaica's trip to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

BY Newstalk 13:07 Tuesday 1 March 2016, 13:07 1 Mar 2016

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

2015 World Cup 2015 Final referee Nigel Owens is to take charge of the first match in the RWC 2019 cycle when St Vincent and the Grenadines host Jamaica in Kingstown on Saturday.

The Welshman's most recent test match outing as referee was at Twickenham when New Zealand beat Australia 34-17 in the 2015 decider. He travels to the Caribbean this week for the match against the 78th and 79th best teams in the World and will be refereeing his 69th full international. 

Owens said: "It's an honour to be appointed to this important match and I will prepare in the same way as I always do. Indeed, every time I take the field as a referee it is an honour and even more so when it's a test match. Reffing the Rugby World Cup final was a wonderful experience and one that I will treasure forever but every match is memorable in its own way and I am really looking forward to this next challenge.

"For the players in this match it will be a chance to represent their country on the international stage and be part of the Rugby World Cup process. So from my point of view, it is important that I prepare well and perform to the best of my ability. Hopefully, if I do that it will be a good game that allows the players' talents and hard work to shine through.”

The qualifiers for the event comprises of around 200 matches, featuring in excess of 3,000 players across six continents, including the developing rugby markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China as well as USA and Mexico. All qualified teams will be known by November 2018

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